Giselle Peppers is here to prove if she can make her wildest dreams come true, then so can you. Hailing from Paterson, New Jersey, but now calling sunny Los Angeles home, the DJ, model, and art curator prides herself in being a mother first and foremost. In describing herself, she states, “Just an all-around dope ass person to know and even better person to be.”
Kickstarting her career on the East Coast and curating her own art shows allowed Giselle to connect with so amazing DJs, until she fell in love with the craft herself. Learning the ropes from New York’s DJ SoniWithAnEYE and even her stepdad, Giselle began booking her own gigs, playing a mix of sounds from pop to hip-hop to everything in between.
Giselle is completely independent, miraculously balancing being a mom, DJing late nights, and still managing time for herself. Upon arriving in the city of Angels, she suddenly stumbled upon endless opportunities. From being paid $100 for a gig in New York to $1K her first gig in Los Angeles, suddenly she realized her own potential in the DJ world.
Flaunt caught up with Giselle in downtown Los Angeles to discuss her roots on the East Coast, flailing in love with music, DJing for Theophilus London, 1oak to CrazyGirls in LA, surviving the pandemic, throwing her own art shows, background in fashion and beauty, goals, and more!
How was it growing up in Paterson, New Jersey?
I did a lot of my work in New York. New York was in my backyard so I curated a bunch of art shows all over New York City: Manhattan, Queens, Bushwick, Brooklyn mainly. Me leaving the East Coast, it felt like a fight-or-flight thing. I was going through a lot of breakup situations: boyfriends, friends, and Paterson simply not having enough opportunity for me. When I started DJing in New York, they weren’t really paying like that so I took a trip to random LA without expectation of anything, really. I was here for a few days. Something in me felt like, “Yo, you’re not ready to go back right now. Something told me my mission wasn’t complete” I ended up staying, it was crazy. It was a struggle at first, sometimes still can be but oh my God I’m so grateful I made that move. Most of my prayers have been answered so far”.
What was a young Giselle like growing up in Paterson?
I was always in school. I was in college so I was smoking hella weed, I was hanging out. My mom owns a salon so I spent a lot of time there. That’s why I do lashes, hair, stuff like that. I was also very chill. I wasn’t partying a lot. I was more going to art galleries in New York, having fun.
When did music come into play?
Music came into play early in life. I’m the youngest sibling and so all of my brothers and sisters have the biggest part to play in my taste and love for music. I enjoy deep house so much as well as old school hip hop. Also, as I was organizing my art shows. I was booking so many dope DJs. I’m like, “Yo, I know what my people want to hear. I need to learn how to do this.” I learned about 2018 on vinyl initially, so it’s been a couple years. I still feel like an early bird. Some really dope people taught me, like SoniwithanEYE from New York. She was bringing me around New York City a lot, getting really cool gigs. Shout out to you. My stepfather’s also a DJ, so that has a lot to do with it. My love for deep afro house music, hip-hop, etc. run deep. Hip-hop is huge yes! Old school hip-hop like Tribe Called Quest, Nas, Pharcyde, Mos Def, Jay-Z and the list goes on.
Do you play them in your sets?
I do. I try. In LA, it’s…
It’s a little tricky huh?
It’s a little tricky. I’ve been DJing a lot at Crazy Girls lately, so that’s a whole other world. I’m there a couple times a week so that’s straight trap music, which I love. I love that too. [laughs] If I’m booked for an art show, even my own art shows I do out here, I’m totally playing my favorite music that I want to hear and I’m confident others may enjoy. That I know people are gonna say “Damn, I don’t hear this shit anywhere really.” It’s cool, I like Crazy Girls. I’ve played at 1 OAK, Church On Sundays at Argyle, Poppy and some other cool clubs around Hollywood. I was supposed to have my first closing set at Highlight Room, but then the pandemic happened. Now that everything is lifting, all these opportunities have been coming my way. Wow, this is amazing. So grateful.
How’s the new Crazy Girls? You’re there till 4am?
I’m usually off at 1:30am or 2am, but they’re definitely there till 4am. Sometimes 5am, 6am counting money. But it’s fire, I think it’s dope. It’s fun.
How are the tips?
The tips are lit. Everything’s lit. [laughs] Right now, I’m stacking it up. Stacking stacking stacking, it’s super dope.
Learning how to DJ, did you think you’d be in LA doing this?
Honestly, I didn’t know exactly where I would be. But I knew if I learned how to DJ, with my ambition I knew I was going to be somewhere I wanted to be. Honestly, I didn’t even know I was going to be this far. I feel like I’ve imagined these things, but “Okay well, now I’m trying to be all the way up here.” [raises hand] The things that I’m doing now are “Okay that’s cool,” but there’s always room for improvement. I can always do so much better.
Do you remember your first big paid gig?
I was DJing in New York for 3 or 4 hours, they would pay me about $100. I said okay… I guess I gotta put the grind in first. I decided to move to LA, I came to LA. The day I was supposed to leave, within that month I got booked at this weed lounge in North Hollywood. They paid me $1,000! I’m like, “I’m staying here!”
How many hours?
5 hours, but that’s cool. I’m rocking out. From that day for real, actually I’m lying. That was my first check. My first real big gig in LA, I got booked for this birthday party at this temple. I’m in there, I’m looking around. I see Karreuche, I see Justine Skye. I’m like this is a thing! This is a real thing. That was my real taste of…
It was an actual temple?
An actual temple. It was Ugo Mozie’s birthday. He’s styled Justin Bieber and plenty of amazing people. We had to take our shoes off, it was crazy. It was dope, it was so fire. From there, I said “Okay, I can do this.” People were looking at me like, “Yo sis, you’re lit.” Yo okay, I’m digging this! I was feeding off all that energy, all that love. That kept me going.
How long have you been in LA?
I’ve been in LA now for 3 years.
What is your favorite part?
My favorite part about LA is honestly the weather, straight up. The weather, the palm trees. I remember when I’d have a bad day, I’d think “Yo, that’s a palm tree. Get it together, It’s beautiful out here.” It’s so sunny, you can’t have a reason to be upset. New York, it’d be hard rain, hard snow.I miss it sometimes but I enjoy this more.
How was the pandemic? How did you survive?
The pandemic was very interesting. I was supposed to have my first closing set at Highlight Room, so that was a big deal. At the time, I was working with Theophilus London. We were doing a bunch of radio stuff and live IG stuff, which was cool. I ended up getting pregnant. I had a baby during the pandemic, it was a quarantine baby. I was always that person that when people asked “Yo, you got a kid?” I used to say, “Hell nah!” [laughs] Like no, but months later he is my biggest blessing in life.
How old are you?
Were you ready for a child?
No, I wasn’t. I was young and freaking out. I remember when I did the test. I threw the thing on the table, I just started crying. My boyfriend’s like “What’s wrong?” He used it as motivation and ran it all the way up, I’m so proud of him. Ever since I had my baby for real, I feel like my life started, which is crazy. I used to look at women who have babies like, “Damn! Girl… is your life over?” My shit just started. When I’m sad, I look at him. How can I be sad? It makes me go harder for everything. Even today, no excuses! You gotta do this [interview].
How is it balancing work, being a mom, and social life?
Honestly, my social life is my work. I get my good dose of social interaction while I’m working. What makes it easy is when you have a partner who wants the best for everybody, including himself, me, and the baby. We alternate: “you go out tonight” or “I’m going out tonight. I’m working tonight,” whatever the case may be. It’s a cool balance.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I like to smoke weed. I like to vibe out to music. I like to write poetry. I like to read books. I like to look at interviews, just stay creative however I can. I just got a film camera, I’m hella excited about that. I like flea markets: thrifting, finding really dope pieces.
Talk about your background in fashion and beauty.
I basically grew up in a salon from super young. My mom’s been putting me in fashion shows and pageants since I was super young. I’ve always been watching my mom do hair, to see her be this boss ass woman straight up. My taste in fashion has a lot to do with hers. I like nice things!
Did you think you’d be working in fashion or beauty?
I’m actually a hair school dropout. When I was in hair school, ehh I didn’t really think it was for me. I’m in pursuit of getting my esthetician license as well, to be super official. I knew I’d be doing some beauty, but I never thought I’d be taking it this serious. Taking it pretty serious. My business is growing, it’s nice. I have loyalty cards now, it’s so cute. OG Beauty Care, it’s fire. Praise God.
Do you work out of your house?
Out of my house, and I travel. In the future, I definitely see an OG Beauty Care Headquarters, where I have lashes, facials, selling hair bundles, having a staff, etc. Doing the whole thing.
What does it mean to be part of the Girls Make Beats program?
Tiffany Miranda, founder of GMB is amazing, that’s my girl. I don’t even talk to her everyday but she always looks out for me. Right now, I’m in this training for Serato and Beatport to be certified for them, thanks to Tiffany. She put me on this TV show. They’re about to do this TV show with MTV so I’ll be featured on that. They’re amazing.
Girls Make Beats teaches young girls ages 5-17 how to produce and DJ, and it’s the most beautiful experience. When I was back home, I was in school for teaching, so it’s cool that I now have the opportunity to teach something I’m truly passionate about, music. There’s no better feeling than seeing these young girls scratching and doing all types of stuff. It’s super dope, I’m hella grateful for that. Everything happens for a reason, those are one of the things that’s meant for me.
How old is your son?
7 months. He’s a baby, so sweet. He’s the sweetest baby. I was a little nervous. “Yo, what if this my lil dude is crying?” [laughs] I don’t have any family out here. It’s literally me, the baby dad, and cats. We’ve been to Hawaii, we’ve been back to New York. He’s so good. I was a little nervous about that because I was super emotional during my pregnancy. I said “Oof, I don’t know if this is affecting…”, but he’s so happy. All he does is smile, he’s so chill and amazing. I feel sometimes he’s parenting me.
Is he going to be a little DJ?
Yeah. I also want to take him to the Dominican Republic in January, that’s where I’m from. Some of my family is there. I want to take him there for a couple of weeks when he gets a little bit older. Definitely, he’s going to be playing all the sports. I’m going to put him in all types of classes: beat-making classes, DJ classes. We’ll be doing that together obviously. I want him to be super artistic, super creative, and super athletic. All of it.
Do you like Caribbean music too?
Oh, I love Caribbean music. It’s a vibe. Tokischa is this Dominican artist, I’m manifesting being her DJ. She’s Dominican, she’s from the island. She’s dope. She’s badass.
What are your favorite songs to jump in the set?
Currently, a lot of old school Rick Ross. I like a lot of old school. It depends on what set I’m doing. If I’m doing Crazy Girls, I’m doing a lot of old school Rick Ross, Future and Jeezy, with some new school shit like Young Dolph, I like Key Glock, he’s fire. If I’m doing an art show, I’m doing some Afrobeats and afro house. Old school hip hop if I can. I like a lot of song flips. Depending where I’m at but I’m always dropping bangers.
I see you cook too! How were your garlic lobster noodles?
Oh girl, so good. I became this whole chef during quarantine. I never knew how to cook. Now, I’m killing it. It’s dope, it’s so much fun. It’s relaxing. I’m going to the supermarket, I’m picking out everything I need. When I have anxiety or I’m annoyed, let me cook. When you cook for yourself, it’s a way to reset your energy. If your energy’s fucked up, let me cook myself a good meal and get back to yourself. Sometimes, our energies be fucked up because we don’t know who’s cooking our food. Sometimes it can be bad energy in the kitchen. [laughs]
I came up with that name. Innerg is like energy: inner glow, inner gangsta. Your inner self. Ism is a set of beliefs, like idealism. What I believe in: if you stay true to yourself, you will obtain everything you need. No questions asked. As long as you stay true to yourself and be the best person you can be, you can’t miss. I’m so big on that. I can’t be sitting down, you gotta be up.
I’m also very big on rest. I don’t burn myself anymore, especially after I’ve had a child. Rest is a part of my hustle regimen, it’s a part of my methods and my mechanism. Resting is so important, rest will take you farther than hustle ever can. Shout out the hood healer for that beautiful mantra. Allowing yourself time to recharge, because my battery runs out quick. My social battery, I get enough at work.
Any goals for yourself at this point in your career?
Yes. I want to do bigger and better things in the world, in beauty and music. I want to do more festivals. I’m hoping to connect with an artist where we just coincide, because I want to experience that touring DJ life at least once in my career. I want to expand on my art shows. I also want to travel around the world more.
Did you say you’re having one in LA?
I just had one, that was nice. My art exhibitions are called A Time And Place, ATAP for short. They are pretty legendary in New York City. The first in LA was in Koreatown at a super dope gallery called Start Gallery, the owners are an amazing couple who support artists like myself. I’m working on a solo art exhibit with Distortedd at a different location. We’re working on a solo exhibition together, that’s gonna be amazing. We’ve been talking about doing them for years, since I started doing them in New York. I reached out to her manager. When they split ways, she reached out to me and said “Yo, let’s do something.”
I ended up meeting her in person out here. She’s really amazing and she’s Dominican like me. Ever since, we’ve been bouncing back and forth. We’re planning for November right now, that’ll be awesome. I’m really focused on right now. Right now, I do everything myself. Shout out to Jacob for orchestrating this and continually bringing opportunities to my table. I’m manifesting solid management in my future. Sometimes I get thoughts like, damn, I wonder when the time in my life and my career is going to come where I can show up as an artist. Instead of the whole “uh, what’s the budget for this?” When the actual artist negotiates things it gives people room to play with you, versus you having management.I don’t let anybody play with me though [laughs]
Anything else you want to let us know?
For anybody young or old trying to figure out if they should follow their dreams or not, this is a sign that they should. Straight up. Stay motivated, be fearless. Fuck fear, I hate fear. I hate feeling afraid to do something. Live yo life, we really only have one and this shit is lit.